The Theory Toolbox: Critical Concepts for the New Humanities

The Theory Toolbox Critical Concepts for the New Humanities A second edition of this textbook is now available This text involves students in understanding and using the tools of critical social and literary theory from the first day of class It is an ideal fi

  • Title: The Theory Toolbox: Critical Concepts for the New Humanities
  • Author: Jeffrey T. Nealon
  • ISBN: 9780742519947
  • Page: 158
  • Format: Paperback
  • A second edition of this textbook is now available This text involves students in understanding and using the tools of critical social and literary theory from the first day of class It is an ideal first introduction before students encounter difficult readings from critical and postmodern perspectives Nealon and Giroux describe key concepts and illuminate each wA second edition of this textbook is now available This text involves students in understanding and using the tools of critical social and literary theory from the first day of class It is an ideal first introduction before students encounter difficult readings from critical and postmodern perspectives Nealon and Giroux describe key concepts and illuminate each with an engaging inquiry that asks students to consider deeper and deeper questions Written in students own idiom, and drawing its examples from the social world, literature, popular culture, and advertising, The Theory Toolbox offers students the language and opportunity to theorize rather than positioning them to respond to theory as a reified history of various schools of thought Clear and engaging, it avoids facile description, inviting students to struggle with ideas and the world by virtue of the book s relentless challenge to common assumptions and its appeal to common sense.

    One thought on “The Theory Toolbox: Critical Concepts for the New Humanities”

    1. One of the most complex areas of teaching in the humanities is 'theory.' It is odd how the word 'theory' is used, both outside and inside universities. It carries the connotation of being abstract, difficult, pointless, esoteric and difficult. It can be all of these attributes. However the notion that there is a space, place or position 'outside' of theory always amuses me. When we put our shoes on in the morning, we have a theory about dressing. First trousers. Then shoes. That is a theory. It [...]

    2. This book is a great intro to critical theory on a broad scale (although it typically and disappointingly excludes psychoanalytic theory, which is understandable since Nealon is a Marxist-Deleuzean and has written a book on Foucault, who presumably would have omitted Lacan from any overview of theory he might have written). Nealon is a great writer (I don't know much about his co-author) and I also highly recommend his book on Foucault. There's only so much you can do with an intro book like thi [...]

    3. My search for a new textbook is at an end. This is as close to perfect as I can find for an accessible introductory text to the main questions behind theory. I've tired of the different traditional methods of teaching this material (history of theoretical discourse, opposing viewpoints), and I was on the lookout for a text that focused on questions more than people. That way, my students are bettered prepared to confidently question texts with a breadth of thinking in upper-division courses (rat [...]

    4. Used this to teach an introductory course in cultural studies and it is a decent introduction to critical theory. However, it is getting a bit dated (some students thought it was older than it is due to some of the cultural references). And it does get a bit strident in places, even for me. I feel that the section on "surveillance" needs to be reworked as it seems to be outright dismissing the idea of a "surveillance society" as no longer relevant, something that is more relevant than ever in ou [...]

    5. I was looking for something which could help me express my thoughts during times I'm deeply thinking about he world around me: words, ideas, concepts; so I picked this up, along with Raymond William's Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, a kind of critical theory dictionary with the history / evolution of the words. I'm guessing William's suits my need better. [Update: William's book did not suit my needs better.]It turns out this is more of an introduction to standard social / cultura [...]

    6. Being a little fed up by perpetual confusion on matters of "theory" (cultural anthropology, I suppose) in reading about art or literature or film or even pop music, I was recommended this book. It's written specifically for freshmen in college -- so it puts things in layman's terms etc, which I appreciated a lot. And it's references are very user-friendly for someone my age (or younger, really) -- gang of four, beavis & butthead, television ads. And that's essential to this whole interest, i [...]

    7. I had to read this for my History Methods and Theory course just recently and I found this book to actually be a very knowledgeable read. The other theory books that I have had to read in the past have always been so dry, droll, and made me want to fall asleep every two sentences. This book was different, the light tone of the book helped it to flow more smoothly and allows you to grasp the complex ideas that are discussed easier. There were only a couple chapters that left my head in a tizzy, b [...]

    8. Teaching this one now (as first edition is out-of-print). Still strong, still highly-teachable, but the added sections don't really 'add' enough to warrant the extra weight or cost of this edition. Like the first edition, it is a really accessible entry for students to think about critical thinking and reading, power, and knowledge production. There is very little 'fat' in its chapters, and most are punctuated with fun examples and solid working questions.

    9. Necessary and foundational concepts, this book changes the way you go about life. It forces you to rethink the most fundamental patterns of thinking. Nevertheless, it is pretentious and can get repetitive. Fairly long-winded, a model of sitting in a lecture hall and listening to that professor with the checkered bow tie.

    10. I am currently sitting in SUPA training and we have to read this book. As it is slowing down my nightly progress of "Pride and Predjudice and Zombies" I thought I should add at least one of the books to my list.

    11. Another great book if you want to step out of your comfort zone. It discuss theories about life, society in general. Theories on race, gender, queer, and more are touched here. Read it! I would love to discuss this book with anyone who reads it!

    12. Fantastic book. Great introduction to all important theories in humanities and social sciences research, in an easy and not-so-Ivory-Tower-way. Fun jokes, witty and smarts.

    13. Of the two editions, this is the strong one. Thinner, less intimidating and (a lot) cheaper for students.

    14. Read this for an English class. A little frustrating at times but a good introduction to heavy concepts without being convoluted.

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